Alternative social media platforms like Parler, Gab, and MeWe were thrust into the spotlight early this year in the aftermath of the events of Jan. 6 in Washington, DC.
But more than six months later, how big of a reach do these platforms still have — and who’s using them?
There’s an old saying that “all press is good press,” and with Parler, that might just be true. The social media service was famously deplatformed by its web services provider in January and came back online a month later with a new CEO. Since then, it appears that Parler has only grown in popularity.
In late July and early August 2021 surveying, CivicScience found that 12% of American adults say they’ve used the service, with another 7% planning to do so.
Filtering only among U.S. conservatives, nearly one-fifth said they use Parler. But 7 in 10 U.S. conservatives remain either uninterested in or unaware of the platform, suggesting a ceiling for growth.
Parler has a massive advantage over other alternative social media and messaging platforms – awareness. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults are aware of Parler; less than half are aware of Telegram, the second most prominent service on this list.
According to CivicScience surveying, Parler has about double the userbase of any of its rival platforms.
When it comes to why users are choosing these particular platforms, it seems that privacy, security, and limited content moderation are high on the list. Interacting with certain public figures or like-minded individuals were less popular reasons to use a social media platform. Perhaps not surprisingly, conservatives were more likely than the general public to rank ‘speaking freely’ as being appealing in a social media platform. Meanwhile, political liberals were more likely to prioritize interactions with public figures they like.
It’s clear that many politically conservative Americans are seeking out social media platforms that emphasize limited content moderation and high levels of privacy and security. While there are a number of these platforms to choose from, none has taken hold as well as Parler.